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Mental Health Challenges in the LGBTQ community

Being a part of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning)

community comes with its own challenges as there already exists an excessive amount of

homophobia, biphobia, as well as transphobia worldwide. On top of that, the process of ‘coming out’ aka the process of self-disclosure of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, can be overwhelming in certain cases. It takes a lot to prepare oneself for the process of coming out. The anxiety of not knowing how the other person is going to react fills an LGBTQ identifying person with extreme self-doubt. Moreover, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia around them can force a person to stay closeted and conform to the heteronormative nature of society.

According to an article published by High Focus Centers, research indicates that individuals

who identify as LGBTQ have a greater risk for mental health struggles. This is likely due to a

variety of factors, such as discrimination, rejection, and the stress of the coming out process. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge the mental health struggles faced by the LGBTQ community and work towards making our society more inclusive.


TRAUMA DISORDERS

LGBTQ teens are more than twice as likely to be bullied at school, including physical assault and verbal harassment. They are subjected to discrimination, harassment, as well as hate crimes. All these unfortunate factors increase the likelihood of trauma related disorders like

post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


INCREASED SUICIDE RISK

The inability of a person’s loved one to accept their gender identity or sexual orientation can make them feel useless and can double the risk of suicide attempts. Numerous studies have shown that the LGBTQ youth have a higher rate of suicide attempts than the heterosexual youth. It becomes quite impossible to determine the exact suicide rate of LGBTQ youth because sexuality and gender minorities are often hidden and even unknown.

Furthermore, the passage of laws that discriminate against LGBTQ people have been shown to have significant negative impacts on the physical and mental health and well-being of LGBTQ youth leading to suicide attempts.


DEPRESSION

Depression affects the LGBTQ community at a higher rate than the heterosexual and cisgender people. Depression in LGBTQ adults is usually rooted in discrimination, stigma, and victimization from childhood and adolescence. Lack of support and the need to mask their true identity can eventually lead to depression.


LIMITED ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE

Various laws have been implemented in various countries to limit the healthcare rights for

transgender people. It has quite literally become a norm to vilify LGBTQ identifying-people in India. Another example could be taken from the United States where thirty-three states have introduced more than 100 bills that aim to curb the rights of transgender people across the country. Twenty states have introduced bills that prohibit or impede the administration of gender-affirming therapy to minors. The introduction of these bills takes a mental toll on the transgender community.


How to help and advocate for the LGBTQ community?

You can display your support for the LGBTQ community by being an ally. There are various

ways in which you can be a good and informed ally but first things first, what does being an

“ally” mean?

An ally is a person who supports and shows genuine concern for the LGBTQ community, is a firm believer of equal rights for everyone inclusive of all genders, and strongly advocates for LGBTQ+ rights and against heterosexism.

How to be a good ally?

Stay informed: actively try to educate yourself about LGBTQ related news and

concepts. Read about LGBTQ key terms and meanings online!

Start a conversation regarding LGBTQ issues: talk to your friends, family members, and relatives about homosexuality and other significant issues that the LGBTQ

community struggles with.

Try to curb discrimination: speak up and intervene when someone makes a

queerphobic comment. Correct them and tell them how they are wrong and what they

can do to improve and further correct another queerphobic comment they come across.

And needless to say,

Advocate and support as much as you can: it is important

to use your voice to throw light on the issues faced by others who are discriminated

against and unable to express themselves. Any kind of help can make a difference;

making posters, sharing posts online with your friends/family members, writing articles,

and campaigns!


Below are a few LGBTQ helplines (INDIA) if you ever need someone to talk to and support you

through a difficult time.

➢ THE NAZ HELPLINE

● +91-11-47504630/9810140673

● RUNS FROM MONDAY TO FRIDAY

(available from 9:30 AM-5:00 PM)

➢ Umang Helpline

● +91 9930095856

● RUNS FROM MONDAY TO FRIDAY

(available from 10:00 AM-8:30 PM)

➢ TRIKONE

● Desi LGBTQ Helpline: 1-908-367-3374

Sources:







- Vanessa Mukoo




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